Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council last week marked the official launch of the recently completed commercial fishing improvements at both Portrush and Portstewart Harbours. Invited guests joined the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan, for a small reception in Portrush Yacht Club on Thursday morning, to hear about the infrastructural improvements that Council were able to deliver to improve facilities for commercial fishermen operating from these two harbours.
In July 2014 Council was successful in securing £181,000 of funding from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) administered through the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). This funding enabled Council to deliver a suite of improvements at both harbours with a total project cost of £249,600.00.
The Mayor took the opportunity to formally thank Ian Humes, Head of Sea Fisheries Policy & Grants with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), for the provision of this grant aid and the assistance and cooperation of his staff throughout the delivery of this project.
At the event, the Mayor commented, “Without the provision of such grant aid, these infrastructural improvements at both our harbours would not have materialized.
“Thanks to this European funding, Council was able to provide the following: at Portrush Harbour we delivered 70 metres of new pontoons and wall supports, including water and electricity supply, and new access gangway; some quayside lighting; a fuel tank; an ice machine in the cold room; and closed-circuit television has been installed along with an access control barrier.
“At Portstewart we delivered plaster repairs to quayside wall; completed the installation of buffers and fenders; and again closed-circuit television was installed along with an access control barrier.
“These are all incredibly worthwhile and much needed improvements to ensure that these important locations are supported to deliver commercial fishing at both Portrush and Portstewart Harbours. I wish everyone well and I hope they are able to reap the benefits from this much needed investment.”
While the main beneficiaries of the improvements are the commercial fishermen fishing for lobsters along the north coast, there are undoubtedly benefits for the large number of recreational boat owners berthed in both harbours as well as the fleet of chartered vessels offering sight-seeing and sea angling trips.
Looking ahead, there is also a degree of cautious optimism in this locality following the recent funding announcements that Portrush in general, and the harbour area in particular, may be in line for a significant investment. The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens continued to comment, “This would only build on what has been achieved to date, and go some way towards securing Portrush’s reputation as a viable small port with opportunities for business development and growth.”